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1. Gratitude. We acknowledge with gratitude the more than faithful cooperation that has been extended by the speakers, the distinguished governors of our respective States, and all others who have made this all-agricultural area marketing conference of to-day possible. They have rendered a distinct service to agriculture which will repay them manyfold.
2. Cooperation and support of farm organization—Let us stand together.- Recognizing the primary interest and necessary leadership of farmers in this question, we pledge our support and cooperation in their efforts through their own organizations and institutions to secure the adoption of an equitable national farm program.
To this movement we all pledge our indissoluble allegiance. We shall take every care to let no differences hinder us nor sinister undermovements divide us or undermine our confidence in each other. Toward one another we shall at all times in this work assume the attitude of "giving and taking,” so that agriculture may have the best that our composite efforts can give it, and never shall we surrender any part of this agricultural “platform” to which we believe we are entitled.
3. Thanks to Governor Hammill and lowa.-We likewise extend our heartfelt thanks to Governor Hammill, the all Iowa agricultural marketing advisory committee, and to the Commonwealth of Iowa and the city of Des Moines and the press and its representatives for the hospitable reception and assistance with which they have so bounteously accorded us to-day.
4. Commend efforts of all farm organizations.- We are aware of the distinguished services that have been rendered by the several farm organizations in their efforts in working out a marketing plan. We appreciate the privilege of working with them. Our courses shall and will run parallel and our forces join through this all agricultural area marketing advisory committee because we are working toward the same end, namely, to put agriculture upon a parity with all other business industries. We pledge to these organizations our steadfast cooperation.
5. Send copies of resolutions to President of United States, Cabinet, and Congress members.—We direct our executive committee to prepare at their early convenience copies of this agricultural platform in all of its parts, the same to be forwarded to the President of the United States and to each Member of Congress and to each member of the President's Cabinet and to the governors of the 12 States included herewith. Respectfully submitted. Resolution Committee: Geo. Peek, president, American Council of
Agriculture, Moline, Ill. (farmer); John Aue, chairman, publisher
Yankton, S. Dak. (livestock).
(The list of the executive committee of 22" is as follows:)
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF 22
Illinois: George N. Peek, chairman, Moline, Ill.; Earl Smith, president Illinois Agricultural Association, Chicago, Ill.
Indiana: Walfred Lindstrom, chairman Agricultural Committee Indiana Bankers Association, president First State Bank, Pleasant Lake, Ind.; J. A. Shields, president Indiana Manufacturers' Association, Seymour, Ind.
Iowa: W. E. G. Saunders, member State legislature, Emmetsburg, Iowa; J. O. Shaff, member State senate, Comanche, Iowa.
Kansas: H. L. Hartshorne, Farmers' Cooperative Grain Dealers' Association of Kansas, Ford, Kans.; W. P. Lambertson, Farmers' Union, Fairview, Kans.
Michigan: Hon. Peter Lennon, Lennon, Mich.; Hon. L. Whitney Watkins, State commissioner of agriculture, Lansing, Mich.
Minnesota: 0. P. B. Jacobson, chairman railroad and warehouse commission, St. Paul, Minn.; N. J. Holmberg, State commissioner of agriculture, St. Paul, Minn.
Missouri: Charles C. Bell, wholesale apple grower, Booneville, Mo.; A. B. Cole, jr., California, Mo.
Nebraska: Ballard Dunn, editor in chief Omaha Bee, Omaha, Nebr.; Mark Woods, president Woods Bros. Co., Lincoln, Nebr.
Ohio: H. A. Caton, master Ohio State Grange, Coshocton, Ohio; Charles V. Truax, director of agriculture, Columbus, Ohio.
South Dakota: C. W. Croes, manager Sod Wheat Growers' Association, Aberdeen, S. Dak.; C. J. Moen, president First National Bank, Canton, S. Dak.
Wisconsin: Hon. Edward Nordman, commissioner of markets, Madison, Wis.; Hon. John J. Jones, jr., commissioner of agriculture, Madison, Wis.
Mr. Bell, of Missouri, has resigned from the committee and his successor has not been named, but it is expected he soon will be.
Mr. Nordman, of Wisconsin, has resigned and his successor has not been named.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
F. W. Murphy, chairman of Board American Council of Agriculture, Wheaton, Minn.
William Hirth, chairman Corn Belt Committee, Columbia, Mo.
Mr. PEEK. The executive committee of 22 met on the evening of January 28, and formally organized. Another meeting of the executive committee of 22 was held in Chicago February 15, 1926, and still another meeting was held in Washington early in March.
Senator SACKETT. Were most of the members of the committee present?
Mr. PEEK. Yes. Ten of the 11 States were represented at the meeting which was held in Washington and, if you please, I will give you the names of the individuals.
Senator SACKETT. They are the same as the members of the committee?
Mr. PEEK. Yes. And I should say that 18 or 19 of the 22 were present.
The economic condition of agriculture generally is a consequence of certain forces that, after the war, reduced the purchasing power of farm products to new low levels, with inevitable impairment of capital invested in agriculture, and of agriculture's share in the total national income. This condition, particularly in the 12 North Central States, is reflected in tables which I will submit and which may be summarized as follows:
The purchasing power of certain principal crops, beef cattle, swine, wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rye was so low that for the years 1920, 1921, 1922, and 1923 it required about two units of any one of these commodities to purchase what one unit did before. Every farmer knows that the figures in Table No. 1 from the National Industrial Conference Board report in 1924, are approximately correct, and while there have been price improvements in certain crops, they have not only failed to offset past disadvantage, but have failed on the whole to balance the continuing one.
Farm population comprising 29.9 per cent of the total received in 1919, the most favorable year of record, 17.7 per cent of the total current income in the United States; in 1920, 13.4 per cent; in 1921, 9.9 per cent. Later figures are not available. There are from a study of the National Bureau of Economic Research, submitted as Table 2 which gives figures for each of the 12 North Central States.
Agriculture's share of the total national wealth was 25 per cent in 1900, 26.7 per cent in 1912, and 20 per cent in 1923.
The total value of all farm property in the United States, in terms of the 1913 dollar, was but 84.4 per cent as much 1924-25 as in 1923.
The last census estimates comparing agricultural and manufacturing wealth in the United States, 1912 and 1922, show that the exchange value of farm output, including livestock, implements, and machinery, in 1922 was but 71.97 per cent of that of 1912, while manufacturing output, including machinery and tools, in 1922 had exchange value 141.67 per cent of 1912.
Actual exchange value of farm lands in the United States is 20 per cent less than it was in 1910. For the 12 North Central States it is but 78.98 per cent of 1910 exchange value. Table No. 5 gives the figures of the United States Census Bureau for 1910, 1920, and 1925.
The total farm indebtedness in the United States, which was estimated by the Bureau of the Census at $4,320,000,000 in 1910, had grown to $12,250,000,000 in 1920, and stands at approximately that figure to-day. The real debt is larger than the figures show because prices of commodities which must pay the debt are lower than they were when the debt was incurred.
These are measurements of the farmers' ability to pay, either from productive effort as reflected by the exchange value of his product, or from the sale of his capital assets—his land-and of the extent of the redistribution of wealth between farm and other industries that has taken place and is continuing, in the United States. The accompanying tables supply greater detail.
The cause of the agricultural difficulty is conceded to lie in the exchange value of important farm commodities. Over a period of nearly six years this has been so low as to result in sharply reduced values of agricultural property, a tendency toward lower farm living standards, and an increase in the farmer's hours of labor, and the work contribution of members of his family.
It is impossible to make one simple but inclusive statement of the cause of the low exchange value of farm commodities, since so many factors have contributed.
In general, organization and legislation have operated to uphold prices for the goods and services of nonfarm industries and occupations, while the full force of deflation worked unhindered on agriculture because of the lack of effective protection and organization. Farmers bluntly say that one of the chief causes of the price disparity has been effective protection for industry and labor, while they can get only the world price for agricultural products of which they must export the surplus.
Ordinary remedies for which we have exact precedent in our national economic history have been invoked, both by the farmers and, at their insistence, by the Government, with the hope that the basic difficulty-inadequate farm income-might thus be reached. Nothing yet tried-cooperative marketing, increased import duties, additional credit-has reached the root of the difficulty. The reason for their inability to restore farm purchasing power lies with the existence of an agricultural surplus in one of several forms--either seasonal, occasional, and accidental, or normal and annual.
Any one of these forms of surplus, but more particularly the normal production in excess of American requirements, is sufficient to account for the nullification of the effect of import duties on domestic price. 7. At the same time the surpluses have proved to be the most perplexing problem which cooperatives confront. If they could control surpluses, cooperatives could become stabilizing factors in domestic and world markets. With complete control, they could even sell the normal or an accidental surplus abroad at world prices and at the same time adjust domestic supply to demand in the domestic market at fair exchange value. There is precedent both in the United States and throughout the world, to show that an industry which seeks to maintain a stable market, must regulate supply to demand through control of surplus. The difficulty which cooperatives face when they address themselves to the surplus problem, results from the fact that their activities if successful grant a direct price benefit to outside unorganized producers who escape the assessments of costs and losses, and the annoyance of deferred payments, which the members alone have to contend with. That results in a higher net sale value to the nonmember, and at the same time breaks down the cooperators' morale, and tends eventually to destroy the cooperative organization.
This is a serious question for the cooperative associations. Obviously, if they could control farm surpluses to the point that they could supply the domestic market at a fair price, the disparity in the relation between farm prices and other prices would tend to disappear. Few students of cooperative history in this country now feel that this can be done, at this time, by unaided voluntary cooperative action.
At a meeting of the Corn Belt Committee and of the executive committee of the American Council of Agriculture held in Des Moines on December 21 and 22, 1925, the following resolution was adopted:
The farmers of this country knew that on the one hand they are carrying the heavy burdens of the protective system, and sustaining the generous wage scales of organized labor, while on the other hand they are meeting world competition which industry and labor refuse to meet; and in these premises we demand of the Sixty-ninth Congress that it enact legislation that will assure the same degree of equality for agriculture that industry and labor have so uncompromisingly demanded and received for themselves.
In this connection we desire to remind the farmers of the South that the time has come when corn, wheat, cotton, livestock, and tobacco should make common cause and when we should fight our battles side by side. We do not ask for special privilege or subsidies—we ask only that Congress shall assure to the farmer a dollar of the same purchasing power as the dollar it has so freely granted to industry and labor.
The following farm organizations were represented in the meeting which passed the resolution just referred to:
Missouri Farmers Association.
Minnesota Farm Bureau.
This meeting appointed a legislative committee of 12 members to consider and pass upon legislative proposals. This committee was composed of: Wm. Hirth, Missouri Farmers' Association; James Manahan, Equity Cooperative Exchange; John Tromble, Kansas Farmers' Union; Ralph Snyder, Kansas Farm Bureau; H. G. Keeney, Nebraska Farmers' Union; Milo Reno, Iowa Farmers' Union; Frank W. Murphy, American Council of Agriculture; Wm. Settle, Indiana Farm Bureau; Frank D. Barton, Illinois Agricultural Association; Charles E. Hearst, Iowa Farm Bureau; Thomas E. Cashman, Minnesota Farm Bureau and George N. Peek, American Council of Agriculture.
This joint legislative committee of the Corn Belt organizations and the American Council of Agriculture met at Des Moines, Iowa, on January 27, and at the conclusion of its deliberations adopted the following resolution:
Having in mind the various plans of farm relief which have been discussed by the different farm organizations, since the close of the World War, and after having examined the different relief measures which have been introduced in the Sixty-ninth Congress, the representatives of the Corn Belt committee and the American Council of Agriculture desire to indorse the Dickinson bill, provided that this bill be amended in certain details, which amendments we have reduced to specific terms, and which do not affect the fundamental principles of the bill.
At the North Central States Agricultural Conference, called by Gov. John Hammill, of Iowa, the following day, January 28, this resolution was adopted:
We indorse the fundamental principles as set out in the Dickinson bill now before Congress, a measure which provides for a Federal agricultural board to administer an equalization responsibility for the surplus farm commodities, any deficit that may be incurred in the distribution of the surplus to be borne by the producers themselves in the most practical manner, and the actual buying, storing, and selling involved in handling the surplus to be done with the support of the board by the organizations of the producers themselves with provisions for immediate operation through other agencies wherever producer organizations are not or can not be organized for immediate needs.
Recognizing the primary interest and necessary leadership of farmers in this question we pledge our support and cooperation to their efforts through their